Tuesday assorted links

1. The new left-wing critique of Facebook (and I predict it will stick, even if not always articulated as such).

2. How the internet is changing Russia’s most isolated major city (NYT).

3. Claims about Fortnite.  And transcript of my Elucidations philosophy podcast with Matt Teichman.

4. A rising expectations theory of the Chilean protests: ““Piñera’s government has always been preoccupied with reducing poverty, and has also designed policies that help the rich, so the middle class feels abandoned,” he said. “The middle class has been growing in Chile, but with a slowing economy, they feel like they were offered a path to the promised land and were never really let in.””

5. Ross Douthat on Watership Down (NYT).  And you can pre-order the new forthcoming Ross Douthat book The Decadent Society: How We Became the Victims of Our Own Success.

6. Republican control of state governments has not stopped the growth of government at the state level (median voter theorem still underrated).

Comments

1. I don't use Facebook, but from conversations with those who do, this sound's legit. Facebook has become what the worst sort of "forwarded by email" culture was in the 1980s. I prefer Memeorandum for my unbiased news(*).

* - Semi-Joke. Memeorandum is algorithmic, and not human curated. It is a measure of article reference velocity across the internet. But if the internet itself has what you might think of as a liberal bias, it will show up here.

And the Democrats have a plan. A Bureau of Information.

No person in the USA will be able to post something without a review by the independent Information Bureau.

Seems like good governance to me. It will be independently staffed, and unfireable.

Which candidates have this plan?

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Matt Kiser started What the Fuck Just Happened Today? as a personal project to help himself keep up with the torrent of political news during the first 100 days of the Trump administration.

Hmm.

This explains much about you.

I don't read that one for two reasons. First, being a civilized person I find the name a bit off putting. Second, it did have a narrow focus.

The article isn't mainly about the WTF site, it talks about Current Status as an outgrowth, and describes a bit about the algos at Memorandum.

Again, my recommendation is Memorandum.

At a glance, Current Status looks a bit boring and narrow bandwidth.

But of course it’s not without human curation. The link you gave was all about human curation.

Or else it’s just Facebook but with shittier algorithms. You can’t be this dense. Right? Help me believe in democracy here. You’re not this stupid.

And I quote:

Current Status is clearly reminiscent of Techmeme and Mediagazer, which is intentional, Kiser said. “I’m the biggest Gabe Rivera fanboy, and so much of this project has been built almost in reverence of what Gabe built,” he said. There is, in fact, a political site, Memeorandum, in the Techmeme network; it was the first site Rivera built, but for a long time it (along with celebrity news site WeSmirch) has been slightly neglected. But Rivera told me via DM that his team has been working on improving Memeorandum since 2016, to make its curation faster and more comprehensive. Unlike Techmeme and Mediagazer, it’s entirely algorithmic (no human editors). But “for perceptive and dedicated readers, the impact has been significant,” Rivera said. Limitations remain: There are often multiple similar takes on big stories (a problem that Current Status also has), and “sometimes overblown narratives show up and the reader needs to discern the metastory — like, maybe people are talking this because they want to talk about this, not because of its inherent importance…but there are advantages to those limitations, in that Memeorandum is a rawer and realer barometer of what political commentators are discussing right now.” There are plans for more changes, including an updated design.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Maybe if the MSM wasn't so corrupt FB would not be the center-right echo chamber it has become.

Can you name fair minded news outlet whose main aim is not to further their own agenda?

The reporting in the WSJ is the only thing I can think of.

The writing in the NYT is still top notch, but I don't trust it and they still use far too many antedotes in their reporting that are almost universially sympatheic to the left.

There have been some attempts to categorize such things, like on a 2-axis chart showing both right/left and reputable/disreputable.

As I say, my approach is to read across the sites, rather than pick one. The WSJ, National Review, Washington Examiner will all appear on Memeorandum if they have a story trending.

But since you ask, one such attempt at a quality chart here. Top chart only ;-). The WSJ is pretty much what you want, the high middle.

That was the most incoherent 2-dimensional chart I have ever seen.

To me, the liberal bias is clearly present in the MSM story selection, tone, etc..

Look at this "news" story from the BBC which I read today.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-50137543

The headline is "Wisconsin black security guard reinstated after firing over n-word."

How on Earth is that international news?

You may not want to hear that, but from the standpoint of the "reputable/disreputable" axis. what matters is that they explain what really happened, without inflation or selective truths.

Do British or Canadian BBC readers want to hear it? I have no idea.

Respond

Add Comment

That mapping is quite absurd, CNN, NYT, WaPo as centrist and of journalistic value? Fox as hyper partisan, MSNBC as high-value?

Fascinating, thats a very left-wing graph at best.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

PBS news doesn't get enough respect. Though publicly funded their range of topics and guests is admirable.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

A lot of that list is Ben Shapiro. Is he really any worse than your average tv talking head? I've never actually been to Breitbarts website, but I doubt it's all that much worse than the front page of the washington post that I saw earlier today.

Respond

Add Comment

By the way, Slashdot is again a jackpot of tech meets public policy links, today 10/22.

The "Codes of Conduct" piece ties directly into item 1 and discussions here about what people want to hear.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

#1 You see/saw this in online discussion moderators - especially Disqus (like it or hate it) - where the left side of the political spectrum and commentariat ended up getting barraged and overwhelmed with opposing views (not all of them 'low-quality') and decided like spoiled brats to take their ball and go home to the next safe echo-chamber rather than hear what the 'high-quality' opposition is saying to them...that their ideas suck. To paraphrase the famous 4Chan dialogue: "Man, remember when Facebook was good?", "Dude, Facebook was never good..."

#3 All good points, but I remain unconvinced - especially in the video game world - that the 'next best thing' isn't just around the corner. Free is here to stay. Yup. Multi-platform is here to stay. Yup. Both those things are not exclusive to Fortnite.

#4 I'd really like to here a middle-class Chileans views on what they think is causing the outrage.

So if I get this right, EverExtruder starts by saying it's all crazy lefties not accepting reasonable right wing viewpoints .. and seals it by quoting 4Chan?

Wikipedia: "The site is widely considered a hub of Internet subculture, with 4chan's community being influential in the formation and spread of prominent Internet memes, including lolcats, Rickrolling, and rage comics, as well as activist and political movements, such as Anonymous and the alt-right."

"....left side of the political spectrum and commentariat..."

I never said "crazy lefties" or "right wing viewpoints". You did. But don't let me stop you. Please, keep it up.

"decided like spoiled brats to take their ball and go home to the next safe echo-chamber"

Maybe you should read Memeorandum daily, just to understand what is normal.

Now that I did say. Absolutely. I most absolutely positively did say that:)

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Unfortunately, some of them to stick around talking rubbish, whether you want them to or not. See this thread, for example.

Poor you, to have to listen to true things from reputable sources, vs ..

"u know what is not great? I still have to read on social media many times a day that John and I are pedophiles and look at photoshopped/miscaptioned photos of us on "Epstein Island" and I just have to deal with it because "people are crazy these days""

https://twitter.com/chrissyteigen/status/1186666431414452224?s=19

Thanks for making my point.

And mine? This is a true thing that happened, a dysfunction in the social media, this time attacking someone perceived as left wing.

And your contribution is that at MR you don't want to hear such true things.

There’s a xkcd about this.

I’m at work someone link it.

It's 2019, we need the inverted cartoon.

"Someone on the internet is trying to tell me true things!!!"

"The shields aren't holding."

got it

FWIW you’re shouting into the void about Chrissy Teigan on an economics blog. I don’t see anyone arguing in the affirmative that she is indeed, a pedophile.

But knock yourself out.

So it turns out this is the guy who sometimes pretends to be me. How do we know? His broken links are broken in exactly the same way.

And they said Fox News is a bunch of conspiracy theorist nut jobs.

Good lord.

Not many of you attempt a tags, but it is a very peculiar error to screw it up with too many double-quotes.

Or is that you again, troll, impersonator, can't handle html man?

Yes I’m the only commenter here using a mobile.

Maybe you can join up with Hillary, she also seems to be knee deep in conspiracies these days.

There are only two times that I have seen broken links here with an extra " at the end. From fake anonymous and from you.

Everyone else, including those us on mobile, can handle it.

You know, some people have found it strange that I do wake up in the morning and worry about the state of The Republic. I happen to think my concern was justified, but leave that aside for a moment.

How weird is it instead to make your focus me?

I am not the President, I am just some random guy talking. How many man hours have you spent this year replying, or impersonating, me?

Imagine that for you I am as big as the President is for me.

That’s a great speech, but I’m way too lazy to sock puppet.

Hours replying to you, probably at least 2. Your intransigence in replying on topics you nothing about brought me from lurker to commenter.

That's classic ankle biting in action. Probably you're complaining about some thread where I dropped a half-dozen links, and you're still butthurt.

Respond

Add Comment

Don't blunt your pick on the mouse.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

By the way, I am retired. I hope you didn't steal all that time from some employer!

Not that it matters, you’re replying to at least two different people. XKCD is great.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

No, I'm fine with "true things," I'd just rather they be delivered by someone who isn't as annoying as you are.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Don't know if I agree with you overall thesis, but there was a recent trial balloon in the nytimes of the phrase "debate-me-bro" which attempted to stigmatize dialectic. Pretty frightening.

I don't think "debate-me-bro" culture is that productive. It's mostly set pieces and pat answers. Movement in any direction is almost unheard of.

Which leads many to believe it is a kind of grift. Especially when it's connected to a Paetreon account.

‘Grift’ as such is a left wing meme used to delegitimize any individual who rises among the right as a communicator. The craziest part is that the plebe lefties eat it up like pee tapes and Russian bots.

I don't think "debate me bro" culture exists. The phrase is obnoxious and shouldn't exist. I really hope it doesnt catch on.

Respond

Add Comment

Let's define grifter as someone who says not true political things for profit.

By that definition Bill Maher might be a grifter too. And, lol, Tulsi.

Not at all. Her record is unimpeachable, actually.

Respond

Add Comment

‘Not true political things’ as defined by the users of ‘grift’? The Chapo and internet feminists and DSA member columnists and woke Twitter?

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Tyler l, this is the third time you’ve posted that same Fortnite piece...I get that you think it is interesting but why keep posting it?

It was link #6 back in February, and link three in May.

https://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2019/02/friday-assorted-links-195.html

https://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2019/05/thursday-assorted-links-208.html

Respond

Add Comment

1. Fourteen years ago there no was no one on Facebook older than like 26. Today it's where Boomers run wild. Otherwise this line from Yglesias made me laugh:

"a platform for primarily spreading low-quality right-wing content"

I wonder what he thinks the left-wing analogue would be. Twitter?

His smartphone?

+1

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

His wife's book club?

Oh, I forgot - she probably can't have people over because they might notice his "non-conforming garage." You expect to pay a cost, being married to a maverick like Matthew.

Respond

Add Comment

Wife?

I thought he was a eunuch.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

6:"voters should see some impact from their choices at the ballot box this November"

Thanks Matt. Thank you just so much.

Respond

Add Comment

1. The average person is, pretty much, a right-wing conservative national socialist. What I find shocking is that some people find this fact shocking.

"Everyone is a conservative about what they know best."

- Robert Conquest

I would say that includes the slightly 'above-average' as well. I'm pretty sure Tyler and Alex are 'conservative' about what they know best. Or you. Or me. Or 99% of the worlds population. What I find shocking is that some people find this fact shocking.

Sort of true. Most of the anti Trump ire has been his messing with the status quo: trade, immigration enforcement, Iran, Israel, ACA taxation, Paris Accord.

What?

The resist movement started before inauguration. I don’t think he had done much at that point.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

National socialists were not conservative.

Sure they were. They were conservative Socialists.

Respond

Add Comment

"National socialists were not conservative." It certainly turned out that they weren't nationalists. Mad imperialists is what they proved to be.

Their imperialism was to acquire more land and resources for their own citizens. Putting your own citizens’ interests above those of foreign citizens is pretty much the essence of nationalism.

The essence of the ideal of nationalism is the belief in the nation-state. To believe in the nation-state is to believe that the borders of your state's authority should coincide with the borders of your cultural nation. This precludes and offers a check on imperial expansion, if taken seriously.

Certainly someone who is a nationalist would believe foreign citizens interests are ultimately less compelling to their loyalty than fellow citizens (allowing the cohesion and reciprocity that makes a stable state even possible), but they would also believe in a self imposed constraint against expanding their own state's political authority, and would argue to fight in league with our nation states against any would be imperial hegemon state that aimed to transcend national borders.

Nationalism is not some sort of neo-imperial ethno-centricism. It does not, in theory, give licence to market dominant minorities and military dominant minorities to go around bending the world to their will, but rather the inverse (part of the reason that market dominant minorities and military dominant minorities often object to it.... at least when they're not benefiting from it!).

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

National socialists were not conservative in the modern American definition of conservative which is "classical liberal". But, historically, fascists were conservative in the sense that they wished to CONSERVE their ethnic culture and collective identity.

It is my general impression that the average person tends to favor fascist-like policies, except mad imperialism.

National socialists were conservatives—just look at who their support base was. Their support came from the voters of other conservative parties. Conservative parties were the ones willing to join in coalition with the Nazis and who voted for Hitler’s dictatorship. The only two parties that resisted the Nazis to the end were the Social Democrats and the Communists.

And I think the average person would support mad imperialism if it were beneficial for their country. The average person in Western Europe supported imperialism in the 19th century. And the Nazis were quite open about their desire to conquer large portions of Eastern Europe, and most Germans eventually supported that too. If someone’s moral principle is “my country’s people come before other countries’ people,” then they would probably support imperialism if their country was likely to gain from it.

What term would you suggest for someone who’s moral principle is “other countries’ people come before my country’s people”?

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

There is a good discussion between Dan Carlin of Hardcore History and an Italian pod-caster where they are discussing whether the Nazis were left or right, and they seemed to come out on right:

http://historyonfirepodcast.com/episodes/2019/2/11/episode-44-dan-carlin

Respond

Add Comment

Matt Yglesias, "How dare right wing people gather online and talk to each other. We must regulate it."

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

6. I really think such stories, or links at economics sites, should touch bases with Wagner's Law.

Perhaps the median voter is indeed onboard with this.

You're right, Wagner's Law applies. My version explains the post WWII increase in the size of government as groups previously excluded from government largesse needing to be added to the mix. At some point, this arrangement became fairly stable. Now, it's simply a slight adjustment or remixing among groups, interests, parties, etc. The political discourse surrounding this little seesaw is hilarious in its illusions. We could have a smaller, fairer, more efficient government, but it would take serious compromise. I don't worry about government getting too much bigger because that will eventually blow up, simply because , to put it bluntly, socialism can't deliver the goods. Realistically, you can't blame either party for this kabuki since cutting government spending is really hard, but they differ on enough other issues to offer a clear choice to most voters. Enjoy the ride.

Respond

Add Comment

Here's a story on a GOP success at cutting government spending to almost nothing.
‘I don’t think they know we exist’: In a powerless Alabama town, a quest to be recognized
https://wapo.st/32bfpSX

"He was sitting in his office in a fixed-up corner of an otherwise abandoned school, where he presided over a town of about 500 people called Lisman, in rural Alabama. ...
:
"There was also a budget on his desk, showing that the town had no money for the park, or a single police officer, or much more than the part-time clerk who flipped the sign on the front door of town hall to “open” Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
:
"At a moment when American politics has become a raw and racially polarized struggle for power, Lisman is one of the most powerless places of all. It is small. It is rural. It is mostly poor and mostly African American, and it exists in Alabama, where those characteristics remain the very things that still make people forgotten."

Why aren't conservatives flocking to near nonexistent govrrnment Lisman?

Paying twice the market price for property in Lisman will be pocket change for Trump voters, GOP leaders.

That's a disgrace. The people of that town need help and are entitled to it because they are Americans. That's it. It's not complicated. A Basic Income would certainly help them.

One thing about a Basic Income is that you get it regardless of your race , your color, or your creed. That's American.

How about a UBJ - universal basic job. They do something other want, get paid for it, and then spend their money.

Any job is good. A job is good for the pocketbook and the soul.

A UBI - universal bum income - is not good for anyone.

A guaranteed job isn't realistic. Thanks for telling me about the benefits of having a job. I ran a bookstore for twenty-five years, after which I retired at fifty. What do I do? Read books, study languages, listen to music, watch films, dabble with a few musical instruments. As my for my soul, I study the Talmud. I don't care if a few people sit on their ass, as long as the program is cheaper and helps poor people trying to get ahead better than is done today. Any job is not good...my nonno taught me that you're never paid to take shit or degrade yourself. He was the foreman at a cement plant for 35 years. I worked as a janitor off and on from 10 to 18 in my dad's bars. You can't lecture me about working whoever you are.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

1) Oh, FFS, Yglesias.

Just ... for the love of God, what's wrong with you?

(I see a lot more "low-quality" Left blather there, myself, because I'm surrounded by Progressives.

I read his plaint as being annoyed that THE OTHER finally has ANY way to communicate that it exists that his pals can't gateway.

Zero sympathy, and I'm not even a man of the right.

I just don't like notorious robophobes and smug ... Yglesiases.

1st rule of progressives: Project!

/yawn.

^^ Good example ^^

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

"Republican Control In The States Hasn’t Stopped The Growth Of Government"

The headline is click bait. It's technically true, but a better headline would be:

"Republican Control In The States Has Slowed The Growth Of Government"

Then further down in the article:

" State spending has also risen as a share of state economic activity, though more slowly, and state workforces grew steadily until the 2000s."

"I found that Republican control meant slightly less growth in government as a share of a state’s economy."

"One potential explanation is that by the time Republicans took control, states were already on the hook for providing public services that were popular and therefore hard to roll back. GOP officials also faced powerful headwinds: The federal government often required or incentivized new state spending, and legislative staff, state agencies and interest groups frequently fought to maintain funding."

Math Is Oppression.

Respond

Add Comment

Republicans are unwilling to apply creative destruction to their kids, who are obviously white.

First, health care was outsourced to Purdue Pharma which created jobs for whites getting script from pill mills to peddle on the streets to whites, then when GOP laws are enforced, white GOP sons and daughters turned to illegal suppliers which included fentanyl.

Instead of the GOP cheering the ODs and the creative destruction of early death, the GOP State pols are seeing Federal solutions to fund drug treatment including wealth redistribution by Congress and Federal court torts.

The GOP actively runs on government solutions to every problem, especially at the State and local level.

Many involve tax cuts to put money in consumer pockets, or business pockets if they move factories to the GOP locale, or getting the Federal government to borrow and give welfare to GOP run governments with no strings. Ideally money for health care that can be used to give tax cuts or cleanup messes created by not regulating businesses, like polluted water.

GOP State efforts to increase births is a GOP free lunch because the Federal government pays for most births and child health care in GOP States, but this Federal money must flow though the State government, or else businesses go bankrupt.

The only motive to bankrupt businesses in GOP States is hatred of Obama, thus lots of businesses closing where GOP pols don't live, rural America. They live in the Blue America parts of GOP run States, ie, the cities.

Fabulous.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

If you are like I am (and I think you are), you are worried about the leadership America has had and what it means for your children and your children's children. It is clear America needs and deserves a new class of leaders.

Representative Gabbard's campaign motto is, "Join us in bringing back a government that is truly of, by, and for the people!" Representative Gabbard is war veteran, she understands the plight of the American worker and she is rough on terror and crime. She understands that jobs are the backbone of our economy and she wants to rein in the federal debt. Instead of choosing between a crazy man-child and a hardened communist, why not choose someone who can get the job done? All the way with Mrs. Gabbard.

...She's also on record supporting reparations. Which I find odd...her being a Russian stooge and all.

Easy on the Russians AND the eyes, confliction thy name is Tulsi Gabbard!

I can assure you she is not a Russian stooge. That's a myth, a blood libel. She supports ending the ending wars our elites have festened on us for their profit. She wants American workers to have a fair deal.

There are two kinds of Americans: those that support the Forever Wars and Russian Assets.

You forgot the 3rd kind of American, the kind of American that does support Russian assets - especially assets like Tulsi - and who are on the fence about supporting forever wars depending on whether or not Tulsi are interested in dating them.

There are no Russian assets involved whatsoever. Representative Gabbard intends to implement a pivot to America. It is time to concentrate efforts in protecting American soil and jobs and to get rid of those foreign entanglements President Washington warned young America about. Representative Gabbard's motto is "join us in bringing back a government that is truly of, by, and for the people!" Forward with Gabbard!

Respond

Add Comment

And then there's also Americans who are patriotic Brazilians but not really.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

I agree she needs to run. The American people deserve no less.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

5. I read some of the NYT comments on Douthat and Watership Down. There was a lot of criticism of the book, because it's not woke enough - the does are a repressed class! Though one comenter asked if this was Douthat's sly endorsement of Warren.

Actually, that was a criticism of the book when it was published (in 1972). Hey, we know what rabbits does. Why do rabbits have the starring role in so many books and films? I'm not complaining. Harvey is one of my favorite films, Bugs Bunny my favorite cartoon character. This being rabbit season down here in the low country, I see the little fellas daily, seemingly busy doing what rabbits do. Which isn't much, actually. I suppose Adams chose the rabbit for his allegory because one rabbit seems like any other rabbit. It takes conditioning to make some rabbits different from other rabbits; absent the conditioning, they are all the same. We are all innocent rabbits when we arrive in the material world, but fall away from God and into sin when we do. According to Origen (a Church Father), all of us have preexisting souls, who were one with God until entering the material world, and will return to God when departed from the material world. Thus, universal salvation.

Lessons For Today:

Rabbits eat, procreate (like bunnies!) and are eaten.

What any of that has to do with Origen, God only knows.

PS: Origen does not make the Catholic Complete List of Doctors of the Church. The title “Doctor of the Church,” unlike the popular title “Father of the Church,” is an official designation that is bestowed by the Pope in recognition of the outstanding contribution a person has made to the understanding and interpretation of the sacred Scriptures and the development of Christian doctrine."

I'm pretty sure Origen's eternal soul and universal salvation are not Catholic Christian doctrine. Though, that may help to increase the (one of three) cardinal virtue: Hope. At the time (early third century AD), little or no doctrinal consensus existed among the various regional churches.

You're welcome.

One must understand the Roman Church is basically pagan devil ("saints") worship repacked to be disguised as Christian. That is why it tried to prevent people from reading the Bible and learning about God's Word.
https://www.chick.com/products/tract?stk=1057

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

5. The criticism of liberal society here seems to be that there’s a farmer fattening you up to be eaten. Who is the farmer in the case of the modern world? There is none. Everyone is enjoying liberal decadence. Even the descendants of the nobility who formed the historical predator class seem to enjoy the lifestyle of decadent liberal elites rather than the traditional rape and pillage. With no farmer eating the rabbits, the liberal society depicted in Douthat’s summary would be highly desirable. (Caveat: I haven’t read Watership Down, just Douthat’s summary).

The 'farmer' you speak of exists in the Nietzschean sense, in the sense that if he doesn't really exist in the modern world then he must be created.

Or, if you like, Shakespeare's Troilus & Cressida. Power or the appetite for it, THE APPETITE,

Then every thing includes itself in power
Power into will, will into appetite,
And appetite, a universal wolf,
So doubly seconded with will and power,
Must make perforce a universal prey,
And last eat up himself...

Autophagy is a word I hear much bandied about these days. You're seeing it exquisitely on the left. It's like watching Saturn eating his children out of fear of fear of the 'farmer' he created.

You’ve lost me, why would the farmer have to be created? Do you mean the farmer is the will to power? I’d argue that liberal decadence is largely about transcending the will to power—most people of means now prefer lives of luxury and enjoyment over lives of power and influence. In this, it has largely succeeded. I am perfectly happy with my decadent liberal lifestyle and I have no desire to wield power over others; in fact, I’d feel uncomfortable doing so.

I would argue that for a larger than believed cohort is most definitely not about transcending the 'will to power' and that altruism is not-so-thinly veiled raw ambition for power.

The farmer must be created because the struggle requires an antagonist or there is no struggle, no story, and no narrative. This is especially true for the succeeding generation who did not 'make their bones' like their predecessors in the war for culture and ideas, and also that liberal decadence is for many of them exceedingly boring and 'tickling the dragon's tail' much more exciting so long as their revolution is kept by-and-large safe (i.e. 99.999% of the time they get to go home at night).

You and I might be perfectly happy not wielding power over others. Many are not. Many are in fact not able of being happy except within that context. Their appetites are universal wolves that must have universal prey, and they shall not stop until every boy is a girl, the human population is cut in half, meat is outlawed, and St. Greta replaces Christ in every church in Thurnbergdom. But it doesn't stop there, then their kids have to 'make their bones' too.

C.S. Lewis called them "omnipotent moral busybodies"...with a side of decadence.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

3. This is déjà vu. The Fortnite article is from February, and you linked to it back then too.

Eight months is a long time in the online world. How well are the claims holding up?

Respond

Add Comment

I'm so poorly educated, I'd never heard of the median voter theorem. I was wondering, after reading about it on Wikipedia, whether the experts actually claim that it applies only to (or best to) a "single" issue. What I was actually wondering is what an example of a single (dimensional) issue would be. I can't think of any which would be single dimensional for (almost) everyone. Examples? (Of course, claiming a fuzzy incoherent "theorem" is "underrated" is vacuous (at least without a clear context)).

Respond

Add Comment

2. So... the Internet will bring freedom to Russia because Putin can't control it. Wonderful.

Yet Putin does have an amazing ability to manipulate public opinion on the Internet. But only in the US. He can influence society and alter election results. Just not in Russia. Over there he has no power.

Can anyone link me to the memes and fake news that had so much influence? Because I'd like Trump to be re-elected and apparently all it takes is some clickbait and memes.

Also, let me know how I can get paid by the Kremlin for this.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

"One potential explanation is that by the time Republicans took control, states were already on the hook for providing public services that were popular and therefore hard to roll back."

Written in the context of free lunch economics that argues in effect that costs and benefits are unrelated.

The reason the GOP doesn't cut government spending is it does not want to both drive down their State GDP, kill jobs in their State, bankrupt or drive out businesses in their States at higher rates than their policies already have.

Ask any food industry business if consumers should spend less money, and the answer will be no. So, States will not want to cut SNAP benefits which flow 100% into food industry businesses, and with programs by Democrats, more to local farmers in the "double up" program that doubles the "cash" when SNAP pays for fresh foods at "farmer markets".

Obamacare phased out hospital bailouts based on the working poor having insurance plans that would pay hospital Bill's. Hatred of Obama has driven the GOP to systematically bankrupt hospitals in their Red America parts of GOP States, then blaming Democrats, China, Mexico, whoever when most other businesses go bankrupt. Few people want to live in places with African style health care.

Since circa 1980, economists no longer teach that my cost is your income, and my income is your cost. Instead they advocate cutting costs to put more money in everyone's pockets. Then there is shock that cost cutting means less money in 90% of the pockets because costs are always the wages and benefits, never the profits, the money not paid to workers.

That's the free lunch economics fully embraced by the GOP: cut wages and benefits and jobs to put more money in worker pockets.

But when the GOP gets elected to cut costs based on the GOP voters expecting more money in their pockets, it's hard to fulfill the promise, especially when many GOP pols are also businesses who do not want their customers to be forced to cut costs and buy less from their businesses.

If the GOP pols running businesses paid workers higher wages so the workers would spend more to increase their cost of living, government would not need to put money in consumer pockets to keep business from bankruptcy.

Tanstaafl.

Respond

Add Comment

#5..." Indeed the novel is compelling precisely because its new-founded warren, its good regime, is remarkable yet also homely, its founders heroic and also ordinary, with nothing utopian or superhuman or impossible about them.

The ultimate political teaching of Adams’s deeply political epic, then, is an unfashionable optimism about the ends of politics — in which the genuinely good society, the well-ordered regime, is not a utopia but a live possibility, a hard thing to find but one worth going out to seek. Which is a timeless message, but for our era a timely one, for those with ears — long or short — to hear."

That's basically Adam Smith, Edmund Burke, and Michael Oakeshott.

Why can't we take the author at his word, that the book is "just a story about rabbits"?

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

#6 This should not be a surprise.
Your typical modern-day Republican is not much interested in smaller state government per se. They may be mildly interested in reducing spending directed at low income people (e.g. not expanding Medicaid) to help fend off taxes on the rich, but most state government taxation is regressive so that's not a big concern.

Power at the state level more useful for enacting symbolic stances of the day: loosening gun safety laws, "bathroom bills" against the trans-gendered, drug testing for access to means-tested benefits, no same-sex marriage when that was a thing, restricting access to abortion (which in practice affects mainly low income women, see above, and restricting voting rights. [Even opposition to Medicaid expansion was probably more a symbolic anti-Obama jab in the eye than motivated by antipathy to low income people.]

Respond

Add Comment

#3 : The capital-intensive metaverse.

Respond

Add Comment

6. States mostly pay for roads, jails, and schools (*). Turns out that citizens, including Republican ones (especially Republican ones), want to spend money on roads, jails, and schools.

* and Medicaid, beyond federal transfers.

All of which are at least partially public goods or exhibit jointness of supply. These are appropriate and necessary functions of government.

And, including Medicaid, it's where the bulk by far of state spending goes. The dirty little secret is that state spending is about already about as minimized possible. Oh, no doubt people can find egregious stuff buried in the budget still, but that amounts to mere chump change.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Based on my research (not so much a statistical sample as a 10,000-hour mastery immersion) I can state with full confidence that right wingers post (and then interact with in comments) outrage-bait and highly salacious (and dubious) partisan "news" on a roughly 10-1 pace versus liberals.

Respond

Add Comment

TC, are you deliberately being contrarian here?

Well guess what, I can do that too, wait until you find out about Douthat and Dreher's thoughts on economic progress and societal progress in general. No progress studies spokesman here!

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment